Out of 301 members of South Korea’s Cheonghae unit, 247 were confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced on Monday.
These became the worst mass infection among the unit, which takes charge of anti-piracy efforts in the African waters.
The JCS said 68 were first tested positive for the virus, followed by 179 others which bear the same test results on Sunday. Last week, six members were first detected to have been infected and urged testing among all the unit members.
“Test results on all 301 crewmembers of the unit showed that 247 tested positive and 50 negative. The samples of four individuals were undecipherable,” part of the JCS’ official release said.
It said that 16 of the COVID-19 positive members were admitted to local hospitals to be treated while the rest were isolated at the Munmu the Great, their destroyer.
The government has acted upon the situation and has already deployed two KC-330 aerial tankers to Africa on Sunday. The members are scheduled to go back to the country on Tuesday.
JCS officials said that one of the COVID-19 positive members is in need of intensive care. The medical staff assured that he can be brought home safely through airlifting.
The officials added that the members will be brought for treatment at medical centers upon their arrival to the county.
Measures are being prepared by the military and health personnel to make sure that will be handled safely.
A team of service members, meanwhile, will be tasked to deliver their destroyer home. The team already left South Korea on Sunday, The Korea Herald reported.
The unit’s return was made a month earlier due to the confirmed cases. Since 2009, it became the first time the unit will be returned home earlier than scheduled.